Issue 33 - Sep 8, 2017
  • NCI’s Lowy and Schiller win Lasker prize for developing HPV vaccine

    Douglas Lowy and John Schiller have won the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for research that led to development of the human papillomavirus vaccine.
    Lowy, who is completing his stint as the NCI acting director, becomes the first head of the institute—permanent or acting—to win the award, which is described as America’s Nobel Prize.

    The Lasker awards were announced Sept. 6.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Lowy: NCI’s intramural program made development of the HPV vaccine possible

    After getting the news that he and collaborator John Schiller have won the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, Douglas Lowy said that part of the credit belongs to the NCI intramural research program.

    Lowy and Schiller got the award for their role in developing the human papillomavirus vaccine, likely preventing millions of deaths worldwide from cervical cancer and HPV-induced malignancies.

  • Another doubling in progress for NIH? Senate appropriators slate $2 billion for NIH in FY18

    The Senate Appropriations Committee Sept. 7 marked up its version of the fiscal 2018 Labor-HHS spending bill, giving NIH an increase of $2 billion over the current year.

    The bill was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support, with a 29-2 vote, and will advance to the White House as soon as the House passes similar legislation. If signed into law, the measure would bring NIH’s budget to $36.1 billion, marking the third year in a row that NIH has received a $2 billion increase.

  • Guest Editorial

    How the RACE for Children Act will get drugs to kids with cancer

    This month, I should be taking my son, Jacob, to college. Instead, I’m participating in Curefest for Childhood Cancer on the Mall here in D.C.

    When Jacob was eight, he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. The drugs used to treat Jacob were almost 40 years old. They did not work.

  • In Brief

    • H. Richard Alexander named chief surgical officer at Rutgers
    • Weill Cornell awarded $11.3 million SPORE grant for prostate cancer 
    • Fox Chase receives NIH grant to establish a research center in Jamaica
    • NCCN Chemotherapy order templates to be integrated into MEDITECH’s Web EHR
    • ASTRO honors 43 researchers with Abstract Awards at 2017 Annual Meeting
  • Drugs and Targets

    • EC approves Merck’s Keytruda for locally advanced, metastatic urothelial carcinoma
    • FDA grants orphan drug status to Cellect’s ApoGraft for acute and chronic GvHD
  • Funding Opportunities

    • DOD Kidney Cancer Research Program publishes funding opportunities for FY17
Issue 32 - Sep 1, 2017
  • Peter Pisters tapped to lead MD Anderson

    Peter Pisters, a sarcoma and pancreatic cancer surgeon and an MD Anderson expat who serves as president and CEO of University Health Network of Toronto, is set to become the fifth president of the Houston-based cancer center.

    Pisters was chosen by the UT System Board of Regents at a special meeting Aug. 25.

  • NCI requests $591 million in additional funding for FY19

    NCI is asking for $6.38 billion for fiscal year 2019­—nearly $1 billion, or 12 percent, above FY17 appropriation levels—to fully fund promising research areas.

    The institute’s FY19 professional judgment budget proposal, also known as the Bypass Budget, is a unique authority established by the National Cancer Act of 1971.

  • In Brief

    • Guenther Koehne named chief of bone marrow transplantation and hematologic oncology at Miami Cancer Institute
    • Prostate Cancer Foundation awards $6 Million in 2017 Challenge Awards
    • Rick Kittles joins City of Hope as director of the Division of Health Equities
    • William Dale joins City of Hope as professor of supportive care
    • Deric Savior promoted to head of medical oncology at Temple University Hospital
    • Carlyn Tan joins department of hematology/oncology at Fox Chase 
    • Reza Nejati joins pathology department at Fox Chase
    • CPRIT awards $102 million in 60 new grants 
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Novartis’s Kymriah becomes first gene therapy to get FDA approval
    • FDA approves Mylotarg for treatment of acute myeloid leukemia
    • FDA approves Lynparza (olaparib) tablets for maintenance treatment in ovarian cancer
    • FDA approves inotuzumab ozogamicin for relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL
    • Ocugen gets Orphan Drug designation for ocular graft vs. host disease
    • Gazyva in previously untreated follicular lymphoma gets FDA priority review 
    • EU approves AVEO’s Fotivda (tivozanib) for advanced renal cell carcinoma
    • FDA acts to remove unproven treatment used in ‘stem cell’ centers
Issue 31 - Aug 4, 2017
  • AACR’s Project GENIE about to release second dataset, creating the largest publicly available genomic database

    Project GENIE, a publicly available genomic data repository created and run by the American Association for Cancer Research, has amassed 18,804 de-identified records, and is on track to release another large dataset early this fall.

    Launched in 2015, Project GENIE, short for the AACR Project Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange, is a multi-phase, multi-year international data-sharing initiative that seeks to catalyze precision oncology through the development of a regulatory-grade registry.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    Charles Sawyers: Project GENIE demonstrates what a coalition of willing institutions is able to do

    When former Vice President Joe Biden sought to convene and cajole cancer organizations into breaking down silos as part of the Cancer Moonshot, he frequently expressed frustration about reluctance on the part of cancer organizations to share data.

    “You’re not going to like this, but imagine if you all worked together,” Biden said at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “I’m not joking! Imagine if you all worked together.” (The Cancer Letter, June 10, 2016).

  • Ned Sharpless set to leave UNC job Aug 4; Starting date as NCI director not publicly known

    Norman “Ned” Sharpless, the scientist slated to be the next NCI director, is departing from his current job, that of director of UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, sources said.

    While it’s confirmed that Aug. 4 is Sharpless’s last day at Lineberger, it’s less clear what his first day at NCI would be, though insiders say he would likely report to work at the institute by the end of August.

  • Conversation with The Cancer Letter

    More than three million life-years added over 60 years as a result of SWOG clinical trials

    A SWOG study estimates that implementation of findings from that group’s clinical trials has added 3.34 million years to the lives of cancer patients in the 60 years since its founding in 1956.

    The primary question the researchers sought to answer was: “How have the NCI–sponsored network cooperative cancer research groups benefited patients with cancer in the general population?”

  • Guest Editorial

    Senate passes a “right to try” bill; Harm to patients comes next

    Patients for whom there are no existing treatments watch with desperation as a potentially helpful new drug spends years working its way from a lab bench, through clinical trials, and finally to the FDA, where reviewers consider it for approval.

    To help those who don’t qualify for clinical trials but wish to try experimental drugs as a last treatment option, the FDA allows patients’ physicians to apply for “compassionate use” of experimental medications through its expanded access program, which allows seriously ill patients without other treatment options to access investigational, unapproved drugs and devices outside of a clinical trial.

  • In Brief

    • Ramon Parsons named director of Tisch Cancer Institute at Mt. Sinai
    • ASTRO names 23 members to 2017 class of “fellows”
    • Emmanuel Quien joins the Fox Chase Cancer Center Department of Hematology/Oncology
  • Drugs and Targets

    • Enasidenib, companion diagnostic get FDA approval for relapsed or refractory AML
    • Vyxeos gets FDA approval for first treatment for types of poor-prognosis AML
    • Opdivo gets FDA accelerated approval for MSI-H/dMMR colorectal cancer
    • FDA expands ibrutinib indications to chronic GVHD
    • Amgen, Allergan submit biosimilar application for ABP 980 to FDA
    • Kite files the first CAR-T application in Europe for axicabtagene ciloleucel
    • BMS to acquire IFM Therapeutics to focus on innate immunity
    • BMS, Clovis form collaboration to evaluate Opdivo and Rubraca
    • Loxo Oncology acquires highly selective, reversible BTK inhibitor
    • MedStar Health partners with Indivumed to advance precision oncology research
  • Funding Opportunities

    • NETRF announces grants for neuroendocrine cancer research